Missouri Senate

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Legislation that would have moved back Missouri’s filing period for the August 7th primaries has been withdrawn from consideration by the State Senate.

Instead of debating the bill itself, some St. Louis-area Senators began criticizing the citizens’ commission that drew up the latest State Senate district map Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) and Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) both had harsh words for the proposed map, which would move Cunningham’s 7th District to the Kansas City area.

(Mo. Office of Administration)

A tentative agreement has been reached on a new redistricting map for the Missouri Senate.

A bipartisan commission appointed by Governor Jay Nixon (D) to draw a new map negotiated for more than 13 hours Wednesday, and reached a consensus after 12:00 this morning.  The "Tentative Plan" map can be viewed here.  Marc Ellinger is the top Republican on the 10-person commission.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

Time is running out for a bipartisan commission tasked with agreeing on a new Missouri Senate district map. The filing period for senate candidates begins next week, but without definitive district boundaries, they won't know exactly which district they would be running to represent. 

The commission's chairman Doug Harpool says if seven of the ten commission members fail to agree on a map, a federal judge will be appointed to determine the district boundaries.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Legislation that would move the candidate filing period for the August primary back by one month is now moving through the Missouri House.

On Monday it passed the House Elections Committee and it next goes to the Rules Committee.  However, House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka) seems to favor an alternate approach:  Having a two-week filing period that would begin sometime in mid-March and end on March 27th as currently scheduled.

UPI | Bill Greenblatt

Missouri voters could get to decide whether to impose term limits on all executive officeholders under a proposal endorsed by the state Senate.

The proposed constitutional amendment would limit the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and auditor to serving two, four-year terms. A similar limit already is in place for Missouri's governor and treasurer. State lawmakers also are subject to term limits.

papalars | flickr

Missouri Senate votes to allow cell phones on no-call list

The Missouri Senate has passed a measure that would let people put cell phone numbers on the state's no-call list for telemarketers. The Senate voted 34-0 Thursday, to expand the list which is currently limited to land lines.

The measure would also forbid telemarketers from sending unwanted images or text messages to cell phones on the no-call list. 

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate has passed legislation that would prohibit employees from suing co-workers for injuries they sustain on the job.

Senators voted 28-6 in favor of the bill Thursday. Majority Leader Tom Dempsey, who sponsored the measure, says the change will be fairer to workers and protect them from having to pay large court judgments.

The legislation also provides for workers' compensation coverage of occupational diseases. Such diseases were removed from the program under a 2005 law.

(via Flickr/hlkljgk)

The Missouri Senate has unanimously passed legislation to move the filing period for the state’s party primaries back by one month.

The bill is moving rapidly because the filing period is currently set to begin February 28th and end March 27th, and because of the lack of new State House and Senate district maps.  The Missouri Supreme Court tossed out the Senate map, which now has to be redrawn, and a legal challenge to the new House map is also being appealed to the High Court.  Senate President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) says those facts alone make it necessary to push back the filing period.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would push back the filing period for the state’s August primaries by one month.

The bill’s backers say the filing period needs to be moved forward to March 27th through April 24th, due to legal uncertainty over the State House and Senate district maps.  Currently, the filing period begins February 28th and ends March 27th for all state and federal races this year.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Legislation that would allow employers to block insurance coverage for birth control, abortions and sterilizations, all for religious reasons, has passed a Missouri Senate committee.

The bill was filed in response to President Obama’s recent mandate that church-run institutions provide coverage for birth control – that mandate has since been amended to require insurers to provide coverage if a religious employer refuses to do so.  Bishop John Gaydos, representing Missouri’s Catholic bishops, spoke in favor of the bill.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Legislation is awaiting action in the Missouri Senate that would change the filing period for candidates planning to run in the state’s Democratic and Republican primaries in August.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would add cell phone numbers to the state’s Do-Not-Call list.

There was little to no debate on the bill Monday and it was easily approved by voice-vote.  The sponsor, State Senator Will Kraus (R, Lee's Summit), says the measure has failed in recent years because it was always paired with proposals to ban robo-calls.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate has passed legislation that would redefine what constitutes discrimination in the workplace.

The vote was a mere formality following last week’s battle to kill the measure.  Maria Chappelle-Nadal of University City and several other Senate Democrats had conducted a filibuster, but gave in after language guaranteeing jury trials in discrimination lawsuits was added to the bill.  But she still spoke out against it, in particular, the Missouri Chamber’s claim that the bill would help curb frivolous lawsuits.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation that would redefine workplace discrimination, after an agreement was reached between the bill’s sponsor and a group of Democrats that had been blocking it.

The agreement took the form of an amendment to the bill, which would guarantee the right to a jury trial in any workplace discrimination case.  State Senator Brad Lager (R, Savannah), the bill’s sponsor, agreed to support the amendment.

(Mo. Senate)

Stickers with rifle target crosshairs printed on them have been found in the office doorways of several Missouri lawmakers.

They were discovered Tuesday afternoon outside the offices of five Democratic State Senators and one Republican State Representative.  The stickers were twice found outside the Capitol office of Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal of University City.

Current and Jacks Fork rivers
National Parks Service

From barbecue to Branson, Missouri possesses plenty of noteworthy ventures. But a push is underway to showcase one of the state's most scenic features -- its rivers.

State Sen. John Lamping, R-Ladue, plans to introduce a resolution Tuesday in the Missouri Senate to spur the state's Department of Tourism to tout Missouri as the "Great Rivers State."

(via Flickr/david_shane)

Updated 5:21 p.m. with Gov. Nixon asking for nominees for new citizens commission

The Missouri Supreme Court has struck down new state Senate districts and ordered a further legal review of new U.S. House districts.

The rulings Tuesday add fresh uncertainty for the 2012 election year, just weeks before candidates are to begin filing for office.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Mo. Senators pushing legislation to make information available about grants and budget cuts

The legislation would require details about federal grants worth at least $1 million to be posted on the Missouri Accountability Portal, which is an online tool for tracking state expenses.  It also would require the governor to post a daily report on that website listing how much money he has withheld from state agencies and programs to help balance the budget.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The legal battle over Missouri’s new congressional map resumed today. 

The State Supreme Court heard arguments over whether the so-called “Grand Compromise Map” fails to meet the State Constitution’s compactness requirement.  Attorney Gerry Greiman argued for the plaintiffs in one of two lawsuits against the map.  He says like-minded people should be joined together in the same district.

(via Flickr/jennlynndesign)

Missouri lawmakers are again trying to change the rules for workplace discrimination cases after similar legislation was vetoed last year.

A Senate committee endorsed legislation Thursday that supporters say would align Missouri laws with federal protections. The measure would require discrimination to be a "motivating factor" - instead of the current lesser standard of a contributing factor - in wrongful termination cases. That bill now goes to the full Senate.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A State Senate committee heard testimony today on legislation designed to block Governor Jay Nixon (D) from creating a health insurance exchange.

The proposed exchange is part of the national health care law signed by President Obama nearly two years ago.  All states are required to have an online exchange where customers can buy health coverage, and any state that doesn’t have one by the year 2014 will have one created for them by Washington.  The bill sponsored by State Senator Rob Schaaf (R, St. Joseph) would block the Governor and any agency under his authority from creating an exchange by executive order.

(Tim Bommel/Mo. House of Representatives)

State Representative Jamilah Nasheed announced Tuesday she's running for the state Senate.

The St. Louis Democrat is running against fellow Democratic incumbent Senator Robin Wright-Jones.

Following redistricting Nasheed's district now includes two other current state representatives, but she says that's not why she's chosen to run for a Senate seat.

“I'm running simply because I truly believe the city of St. Louis truly needs leadership,” Nasheed said. “Right now in the Senate under Robin Wright-Jones, the city hasn't had an effective voice.”

(via Flickr/Senator Blunt)

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says the failure of two balanced-budget amendments today shows Senate Democrats aren’t serious about dealing with the deficit.

The defeat of both bills – one from Democrats, one from Republicans – ends the current push to force a yearly balanced budget from Congress.  Blunt, who voted for the Republican-backed bill, says the fact that neither party could pass their amendment speaks to the heart of the Senate’s disfunction. 

(Missouri Office of Administration website)

A six-judge panel that redrew Missouri’s State House and Senate districts has made a few changes to the Senate map.

The original map had raised constitutional concerns because it divided rural Johnson County in western Missouri among two separate Senate districts.  The county is represented in the Senate by Republican David Pearce of Warrensburg.

(via Flickr/Lauren Manning)

Missouri lawmakers will again push legislation aimed at preventing an exodus of Kansas City and St. Louis students from their failing schools and overwhelming neighboring districts.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled last year that students living in unaccredited districts are owed free transfers and that accredited schools must take the students. The courts continue to work out the details.

(Missouri State Redistricting Office)

Updated at 6:42 p.m. with comments from Mo. Sen. Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield).

New redistricting plans and maps for the Missouri General Assembly have been filed with the Missouri Secretary of State's office.

Redistricting occurs every 10 years, and is based on results from the census. Missouri's most recent census data, with shifts and increases in population, required significant changes to be made.

“We have worked collaboratively to draw maps that comply with the constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and other legal requirements,” Lisa White Hardwick, chair of the Missouri Appellate Apportionment Commission, said in a release.

The St. Louis area has lost a State Senate district.  The 7th District is represented by Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) and mainly consists of western St. Louis County.  Starting in 2013, it will consist of six counties to the north and west of the metro area and a small portion of St. Charles County.  Cunningham says she’ll now run for the 27th District Senate seat, which will include parts of St. Louis and Jefferson Counties.

“I had expected much of this area to be mine anyway, I’ve already been working in many of what would be new areas, and so they know me," Cunningham said.  "Our home is in another area, but this is my stomping grounds.”

Cunningham will have to move to a new home in order to live in the new 27th District, which she calls a minor inconvenience.  The new State Senate boundaries also have Cunningham’s current home in the same district as fellow Republican Senator John Lamping

Here are the newly submitted maps for the St. Louis region (click within each to expand and explore):

(via Flickr/Daniel Morrison)

An attempt to replace Missouri’s presidential primary with statewide caucuses has failed in the State Senate, meaning the February 7th Democratic and Republican primaries will go on as scheduled.

Before the vote, some amendments were offered, including one that would have moved the primary forward to January.  None of them passed, but they reflected efforts by several Republicans to preserve the state's primary.  State Senator Eric Schmitt (R, Glendale) said that caucuses result in fewer people having a say in who they want for president.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The full Missouri Senate is set to convene next week, October 17th, to make one last attempt at reaching an agreement on a wide-ranging economic development bill.

The biggest sticking point remains whether to place 7-year expiration dates, or sunsets, on low income and historic preservation tax credits.  The Missouri House removed the sunsets before passing the bill last week, a move opposed by the Senate.

President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) says he’ll ask the Senate to vote to appoint conferees, who would meet with House leaders and try to hammer out a final version of the bill.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Lawmakers have left Jefferson City and are not scheduled to return, even though the special session is still officially underway.  House and Senate leaders are still at odds over a wide-ranging tax credit bill.

The only legislative action so far this week was Monday’s technical session in the Missouri Senate, in which two Senators gaveled the chamber in, took no action, then gaveled out about a minute later.  The House is scheduled to hold a similarly brief session on Thursday.

(UPi/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 9:39 a.m. Sept. 14

A smaller version of the wide-ranging tax credit bill received first-round approval Tuesday in the Missouri Senate.  GOP Senate leaders realized there was not enough support within their own caucus for passing $360 million in air cargo incentives, not to mention a threatened filibuster.